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Macron Visits Brazzaville

FILE: In a reverse of today's ceremony in Brazzaville, French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Republic of the Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Taken Sept. 3, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday carried his African tour aimed at renewing frayed ties to the Republic of Congo after inking an economic accord with Angola.

Macron landed in the Republic of Congo's capital Brazzaville just before 1600 GMT, on the third leg of his voyage after visiting Angola and Gabon.

He was due to spend only a few hours in Brazzaville before traveling on Saturday to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which lies on the opposite bank of the Congo river.

In the Angolan capital Luanda, Macron held talks with his counterpart Joao Lourenco, calling the oil-rich country a "strategic partner in the region."

Macron said France was seeking to "build a balanced and reciprocal partnership" with Angola.

"This fits in with the idea I have of this economic partnership between the African continent and France," Macron said.

"Mindsets have changed," he said.

France has for decades been involved in the petroleum industry in the Portuguese-speaking southern African country, which is one of the continent's top crude producers.

Macron's visit offered an opportunity to explore cooperation in other sectors.

Before leaving Luanda, the French president thanked Lourenco for his work to restore stability to the region, highlighting his diplomatic efforts in conflict-torn eastern DRC.

He added that there are "legitimate hopes" for a de-escalation in the turbulent region.